What Is a Touch Pass In American Football?

swing pass

What Is a Touch Pass In Football?

A touch pass is a type of pass in American football where the quarterback throws the ball to a receiver without putting much spin on it, essentially just dropping it in his general vicinity.

This is different from a regular pass, which has some spin on it to help keep it aerodynamic and on target. Touch passes are typically used when the receiver is very close to the quarterback, either behind or right next to him, and a regular pass would be too difficult or risky.

How To Execute a Touch Pass

The first thing that needs to be done is to see that the receiver is in a good position. The receiver should be open and have a clear path to the ball. If the receiver is covered, it will be more difficult for him or her to catch the ball.

The next thing that needs to be done is to make sure that the passer has a good grip on the ball. The passer should hold the ball with two hands and ensure that his or her fingers are wide. This will help the passer to get a good throw-off.

Once the receiver is in position and the passer has a good grip on the ball, the next step is to ensure that the ball is thrown correctly.


There are a few reasons why a quarterback might opt for a touch pass instead of a regular one. The first is that, as mentioned, it’s often easier and safer to drop the ball into the receiver’s vicinity than to try and thread it through a small space. This is especially true if the receiver is in traffic or defenders nearby could intercept the pass.

Another reason is that a touch pass can be more accurate than a regular one since there’s no need to worry about putting too much or too little spin on the ball. This accuracy can be important in short-yardage situations where every yard counts.


Of course, there are also some drawbacks to touch passes. One is that they don’t travel as far as regular passes, so they can only be used when the receiver is fairly close to the quarterback.

Another potential downside is that because there’s no spin on the ball, it can be more difficult for the receiver to control. This isn’t usually a big issue, but it can be if the pass is thrown too hard or too high.

When Should a Quarterback Attempt a Touch Pass?

A touch pass may be the best option for a quarterback in a few different situations. One is when the quarterback is being chased by defenders and needs to get rid of the ball quickly in order to avoid being sacked.

Another situation is when the offense is trying to pick up extra yardage on a play, such as on a screen pass or sweep play. Touch passes can also be used as a way to fool defenders and create big plays.